Brief

Book Brief

December 28, 2003|By Kera Bolonik | Kera Bolonik,Chicago Tribune

She Is Me, by Cathleen Schine. Little, Brown. 262 pages. $23.95.

She Is Me is a droll and profound meditation on the fluid relationship between motherhood and daughterhood, the bonds alternately strengthened and strained by illness and issues of trust.

As ever, Schine entertains as she enlightens, demonstrating her enviable talent for balancing humor with emotional heft, as three generations of women battle death and domestic claustrophobia.

The title refers to Flaubert's proclamation, "Madame Bovary, c'est moi."

But She Is Me also suggests the fear (and ambivalent hope) daughters have of becoming their mothers.

Schine alternates perspectives between the three generations of women -- Lotte Franke, Greta Bernard and Elizabeth Bernard -- each one a mother needing a break from her competing responsibilities as parent and daughter.

Kera Bolonik is the fiction-forecast columnist for Bookform magazine. This review, in longer form, appeared in the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing company.

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